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East Timor: Birth of a Nation

In 1975, after 460 years of Portuguese rule, Fretilin, the revolutionary front for an independent East Timor, declared independence for the small nation. Ten days later Indonesia invaded. Fretilin, and the resistance army Falintil, fought the Indonesian military for the next 24 years. A third of the population - over 250,000 people - died as a result of the occupation.

In 1999, Indonesia agreed to a United Nations supervised referendum and the people of East Timor voted overwhelmingly for independence. The Indonesian army and the local militia it had created withdrew, burning, looting and killing, razing the country to the ground.

East Timor: Birth of a Nation looks at how a country is born, literally from the ashes, and how the East Timorese people are now working to build a future. Each program in this two-part series tells the powerful personal story of a remarkably resilient individual. In examining their experiences, the series explores the complex issues and difficult decisions that are involved in reconciling the past and creating a truly independent nation.